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Clarion University Northwest Rural Aids Alliance Responds to Harrisburg Protest Over ‘Hostile Takeover’

CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Clarion University issued an official statement in response to a Thursday protest rally in Harrisburg on the Capital steps against the Clarion University Northwest Rural Aids Alliance and charges of a “hostile takeover” after a change in funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

(Photo by Jennifer Haynal)

The grant-funded Northwest Pennsylvania Rural AIDS Alliance, or NW Alliance, serves people living with HIV or those co-infected with HIV and the Hepatitis C Virus. The Alliance works in unison with the communities of northwest PA to improve and protect the health of those struggling with HIV/AIDS.

“The Pennsylvania Department of Health asked the Clarion University Northwest Alliance to consider issuing new subcontracts with the AIDS Resource, Inc. and Caring Communities through the end of the grant cycle, on June 30, 2018,” according to an official Clarion University statement to on Friday.

“The Alliance agreed to do this, and both agencies were made aware on July 6. These contracts would be structured with the appropriate terms and conditions to support a partnership between the agencies and the Alliance, and in a practice that best fits the Alliance’s integrated model.”

“Furthermore, the Alliance plans to open a number of offices in the North Central Region and will provide medical and non-medical services to clients within their communities. Clarion University Northwest Alliance is proud of its service to the region and that it has been recognized as a model of efficient delivery of much-needed healthcare. Services will not be affected by the merger; clients will continue to receive a high level of care and attention to their needs.”

Dozens of HIV/AIDS volunteers from throughout north central Pennsylvania converged on the State Capitol on Thursday, according to a press release by Dr. Rick Schulze, a professor of health science at Lock Haven University and a long-time volunteer for AIDS Resource, Inc., a community-based agency serving Lycoming, Clinton, Centre, Snyder, Union, and Potter counties.

Schulze said AIDS Resource, Inc. is one of two agencies that may not receive funding due to the new contractual arrangement.

According to Schulz, the protesters expressed outrage at Clarion University Northwest Alliance for its opposition to the PA Department of Health Deputy Secretary, local legislators, and two rural AIDS service organizations urging the Clarion group to subcontract all services with current long-standing providers in the region through 2018. The two agencies, AIDS Resource, Inc. based in Williamsport and Caring Communities, Inc. in Berwick serve about 250 clients with HIV/AIDS in 12 north central PA counties.

“Both agencies were recently notified that about $1,000,000.00 in client care monies would be reassigned to the Clarion group, but still subcontracted to the groups,” said Schulze’s news release.  “However, Clarion continues to make demands to close agencies and take hundreds of thousands of dollars in both agency accounts.”

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